At a Glance
- Career History: Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (2004-2008), member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (1995-2003), Fairfax Government Reorganization Commission (1992-1993), staffer on Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1979-1989)
- Birthday: March 30, 1950
- Hometown: Mantua, Virginia
- Alma Mater: B.A. in Literature from Maryknoll College, Master of Public Administration from Harvard (1979)
- Spouse: Cathy Connolly
- Religion: Catholic
- Committees: Budget ; Foreign Affairs ; Oversight and Government Reform
- DC Office: 327 Cannon HOB: (202) 202-1492
- District Offices: Annandale: (703) 256-3071; Prince William: (703) 670-4989
- Web site
Path to Power
Born in Boston, Connolly attended a seminary for six years but drifted away from the priesthood, partly out of his disappointment over the lack of church activism on the Vietnam war. He received a master's in public administration from Harvard. From 1979 to 1989, he worked for the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, where he was seen as a specialist on foreign development aid.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
In 1995, Connolly was elected to Fairfax County's Board of Supervisors. In 2003, he was elected chairman of the Board of Supervisors, thus head of a large jurisdiction with a budget of $4.5 billion. He was re-elected in 2007.
Connolly is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of moderate Democratic House members. He was seen as a centrist politician during his tenure on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
In representing Washington D.C.'s suburbs, Connolly must account for the needs of 56,000 federal employees. As such, he focuses on improvements to government's technological capabilities. He also works to expand telework initiatives to institutionalize employees' rights to enter into such arrangements. He helped establish a telework program in Fairfax County when he presided over the board of supervisors.
As president of House Democrats' freshman class in the 111th Congress, Connolly has helped organize his classmates into a political force. In fall 2009, for instance, he led a group of freshmen protesting against the House leadership's plan to pay for health-care reform by taxing the wealthy. In July 2009, he signed onto a letter to that effect written by fellow freshman Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.).
Another legislative network Connolly has joined is the New Democrat Coalition, a group of moderate lawmakers. He has also teamed up with Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) on issues relating to the federal workforce; the two have pushed legislation to improve telework opportunities.